The Best Films of 2022
If you're looking for a flashy headline to define the cinema of 2022, a few possibilities come to mind. It was the year of horror, as films like Barbarian, Smile, The Black Phone, Bones and All, Men, and the one-two punch of X and Pearl found varying levels of critical and commercial success. It was the year in which big-screen spectacle roared back into theaters, thanks to movies like Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water (even though Netflix juggernauts like Glass Onion provided stiff competition). At the same time, some of the great arthouse or international films in 2022 could be seen at multiplexes, which felt like a desperate attempt to fill screens as Hollywood continues to struggle post-COVID (though I'm not exactly complaining about the ability to see Petite Maman, for example, practically wherever I wanted). It was, in fact, a year of contradictions, seeming to move both forwards and backwards: despite attempts to grapple with current hot-button issues (e.g., Tár and Women Talking), 2022 actually took a step backwards in terms of representation, and once again, nine of the top ten box-office earners of the year were sequels (and eight of them were American).